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Library Europe's largest nursing-specific collection

Doing your Dissertation

"Normally, an undergraduate dissertation will be based on a critique of a small selection of evidence and be applied to one focussed aspect of the student’s practice.” (Glasper and Rees, 2012, Evaluating research articles from start to finish). Use this guide to find information resources to help you develop skills for undertaking an undergraduate dissertation.

Last updated: 16/08/2017

Top tips

RCN’s top tips on how to conduct a literature search

Library search tools

Library Search
  • Using the Library Search can help you find background information: this is an easy way to find books and articles.
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Library search overview
Search Collections
  • For a dissertation you will also need to complete more thorough searches using our range of databases. It is likely that CINAHL will be the most useful database but we have many others that are worth considering. They are particularly useful in searching for journal articles.
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Introduction to searching the CINAHL database
Using CINAHL subject headings

Video tutorials

Library video tutorials: YouTube
  • You can find our full range of video tutorials here. These offer guidance on using our website and searching for online journals.
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Books

Aveyard, H, Sharp, P and Woolliams, M. (2015) A beginner’s guide to critical thinking and writing in health and social care Aveyard H Sharp P and Woolliams M (2015) A beginner’s guide to critical thinking and writing in health and social care (2nd edition), Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Aveyard H and Sharp P (2013) A beginner’s guide to evidence-based practice in health and social care (2nd edition), Maidenhead: Open University Press. Aveyard H and Sharp P (2013) A beginner’s guide to evidence-based practice in health and social care (2nd edition), Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Aveyard H (2014) Doing a literature review in health and social care: a practical guide (3rd edition), Maidenhead: Open University Press. Aveyard H (2014) Doing a literature review in health and social care: a practical guide (3rd edition), Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Bettany-Saltikov, J (2016) How to do a systematic literature review in nursing: a step by step guide Bettany-Saltikov J (2016) How to do a systematic literature review in nursing: a step by step guide (2nd edition), Maidenhead: Open University Press.
De Brún, C and Pearce-Smith, N (2014) Searching skills toolkit: finding the evidence De Brún C and Pearce-Smith N (2014) Searching skills toolkit: finding the evidence (2nd edition), Chichester: BMJ Books.
Glasper, A and Rees, C (editors) (2013) How to write your nursing dissertation Glasper A and Rees C (editors) (2013) How to write your nursing dissertation, Chichester: John Wiley.
Hewitt-Taylor J (2017) The Essential Guide to Doing a Health and Social Care Literature Review, London: Routledge. Hewitt-Taylor J (2017) The essential guide to doing a health and social care literature review, London: Routledge.
Siu C and Comersamy H (2013) Doing a research project in nursing and midwifery: a basic guide to research using the literature review methodology, London: Sage Siu C and Comersamy H (2013) Doing a research project in nursing and midwifery: a basic guide to research using the literature review methodology, London: Sage.

Book subject searches

Use these links to see details of books the RCN libraries hold on each topic.

Journal articles

Use these links for details of journal articles on each topic.

Accessibility resources

MyStudyBar
  • MyStudyBar is free assistive software to help learners with literacy-related difficulties including dyslexia. It can offer potential benefits to all learners. It includes mind mapping software, a text to audio reader and screen colour overlays. My StudyBar only works on Windows PCs. It is free to download and can be used from a USB stick.
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Gribben, M (2012) The study skills toolkit for students with dyslexia Gribben M (2012) The study skills toolkit for students with dyslexia, London: Sage.

Referencing

Use the referencing guidelines from the organisation that you are writing for. If you are studying, use your university’s referencing guidelines. Each university and organisation uses a unique referencing style, even if it is based on Harvard.
Anglia Ruskin University: Harvard referencing system
Imperial College London: Vancouver referencing system
Neville, C (2010) The complete guide to referencing and avoiding plagiarism Neville C (2016) The complete guide to referencing and avoiding plagiarism (3rd edition), London: Open University Press.
RCN library staff

Kate Clark

Author of this guide

RCN Library and Archive Services